To Hull and Back with 3 Points? Starts for Perez, Giroud AND Alexis, and Xhaka/ Elneny could do it

Preview & Predicted Line-Up

I have more or less given up on predicting the starting eleven. The squad is big and Arsene needs to keep a lot of players happy; but he also needs to field a team that has a very good chance to get a result and for that he needs to choose his players carefully.

Against PSG Arsene surprised us with selecting Coquelin and Santi for their second starts in four days, leaving Xhaka and Elneny on the bench. He also opted to start with Giroud and Perez on the bench, giving rough diamonds Ox and Iwobi a chance to shine at the highest platform of club football. Arsene knows a lot more about his players than us, and I have peace with his choices, even though I would have preferred a different line up on Tuesday.

Against Hull I expect a tight game with a lot of possession for the boys in red and white and the Tigers attacking us mainly on the counter. So a good game to bring in Ollie as he can help us crack open the Hullish parked busses.

On the wings I would like us to play Perez and Alexis, and give Theo a chance to come on if the game was to open up properly, and if he is indeed fit enough to play. Ozil needs another game to play himself into form and the prospect of playing with Giroud, Perez and Alexis should surely excite him.

The double pivot is a harder choice to make. If Hull will indeed park the bus for most of the game, then Santi is a good one to have in terms of supporting Ozil in finding gaps. But Santi already played two games this week and we don’t want to see him get injured. Maybe it is time for Xhaka and Elneny to start this game. Both can push up and support the creative side of things, and both are good to keep the Tigers hemmed into their own half.

The back four pick themselves again, although I would not be surprised to see either Debuchy or Gibbs, or even both, get a start.

My ideal starting eleven for tomorrow game is:


Enjoy the game fellow Gunners. COYRRG!

By TotalArsenal.


68 thoughts on “To Hull and Back with 3 Points? Starts for Perez, Giroud AND Alexis, and Xhaka/ Elneny could do it

  • Not bad, but AW will probably start Santi for Lucas. Still, as long as it gets the Ox the f**k off the pitch.

    Bench = Santi, Iwobi, Theo, Rambo, Coq, Holding, Ospina.

  • Hi Totes , hope your well along with the rest of you BK regs..

    My only certainty is that Cazorla starts every game that he is fit..
    The importance of his skill set for this Arsenal machine to kick start and purr is immeasurable…each player he takes on or gets past he unlocks five plus combos/choices to attack.. easilly our iniesta!! I realised this when we ripped manure apart 3-0 after we lost him our season started to corrode..
    Be good guys

  • Nice preview TA. I like your selection, and agree that Santi needs a rest after the last two games. He looked well ready for a rest during the second half at PSG. Do you think we could give Rod Holding a game as well, given that Mustafa and Kos have also played two games? Playing Mustafa and Holding together gives us two tall defenders against Hull’s set piece threat, which is where the Tigers might well be concentrating their attacking plans.

    Your lineup looks great, with a blend of pace and strength up front. Somehow the midfield pair of Xhaka and Elneny looks like an ideal match for that front four. They have a combination of energy and solidity that is ideal for defending against a counter-attacking team like Hull. And what’s more, they both have a powerful shot from a distance, and that is a handy plan C against a defensive unit like we’ll be coming up against. Chelsea fans never complained about winning games through all those deflected goals from Frank Lampard, and I would happily take the same from Xhaka and Elneny (Arsene, you might want to look away though!)

    I’m looking forward to the game in the morning – my prediction is a clean sheet for the defence and two or more goals for us.

  • Nice preview TA! I’m stuffed trying to predict what starting line up Wenger will go with for the match vs Hull but the starting line up I would like to see is:

    GK – Cech
    RB – Debuchy
    CB – Mustafi
    CB – Kosicelny
    LB – Monreal
    CDM – Xhaka
    CDM – Coquelin
    RW – Walcott
    CAM – Ozil
    LW – Perez
    CF – Sanchez

  • May I just sat TA I think you have got it exactly right in your summation of how to cater with a large squad of players, to which Arsene knows far more intimately than any of us.
    And you say it in a much more tactful way that I might 😀 😀

    It is for this reason, I for one will try and not be so adamant that this or that player should or shouldn’t play. For a start, I think your 11, plus options, are highly likely. A lot depends on whether the Giroud ‘toe injury’ is a double bluff to keep Hull guessing, or a face saver if he does not start?
    Only ‘needing a rest’ will be the face saver for Cazorla or Monreal, and long term it is a genuine reason to do so? This is the stuff that AW alone has to juggle with, and we can just hope he gets it right.
    The Xhaka situation is puzzling though. He has looked like a player ready made for the PL, if he can tone down some of his tackling. But this idea he is a box to box player when what we actually need solidity defensively, or so it seems from the outside. I saw a headline saying ‘It is not the defence that needs sorting, it is the midfield’, or words to that effect. Indeed, earlier conversations here have focused on precisely that, regards to the lack of support for Monreal, which comes back to a lack of balance in midfield as to who does what. Indeed I was less keen on blaming Coquelin for getting into advanced positions, because over two games he was able to do it, so it must have been a tactical ploy for him to be the ‘extra man’ going forwards? Otherwise he would have be told to stay put the second time around, at least that is my thinking.?
    But by taking him out of defensive duties, particularly on the left, it left Monreal with far too much area to cover for one man. So perhaps AW is thinking, if he plays Coquelin deep, alongside Xhaka, the latter can provide more precise passing further up the field, and also score from outside of the box?

    Pure speculation on my part I know, but it would be no surprise to me to see that pairing start in a few away games? I don’t think he will want to tinker with the defence too much, so Gibbs might have wait for the ‘Cup game for his debut start? However, one for the bench might be The Jeff. I have just seen a photo of him in training and he seriously looks to have bulked up. If he has kept his speed and trickery he will an interesting contender for that left side attacking role?

    That is my insight for the day. If we get the balance right, and there is more movement up front, Ozil will shine once more, then the 3 points will be well within our grasp.


  • Cheers guys and really good to hear from Prince Poldi again. Almost Spring in the land of Oz… You must be looking fwd to long evenings supported by many a bottle of Freddie H? 😀

  • TA, nice preview. I particularly like how you ‘admitted’ that predicting the line up has become a tough juggling act. That’s good news.

    They say that fit players need 4 days to ‘fully’ recover from a previous match. Between PGS and Hull is 4 days. Therefore with respect to recovery from fatigue we can discountenance all previous games for choosing today’s team. There, of course, remains the business of keeping egos happy versus selecting the most potent team for the day.

    Hull is not a commited PTB team, but our superiority is going to induce that from them. But expect some openness in the game. With reduced pressure on us I expect our best MF destroyer le Coq not to play.

    Expected line up:


    Bench: Ops, Holdn, Gibbs, Eln, Iwobi, Ox, Theo.

  • Hi all..
    Wenger can change 7 players if he want to.. I won’t against him as long as Sanchez playing wide.. hehehe..
    But I won’t surprise if he bench Sanchez, Cazorla and Coqueilin all together..

  • True Total, The 11 is harder to predict than i can ever remember. That’s a good thing because of a talented, deep squad. I think that both le coq and santi need a rest. Santi is a special player, and our best sub for Ozil if he ever goes down. At his age, his health needs protecting, and i was annoyed he started vs psg. He couldve come on late if we needed him. But that whole team sheet was a mess, and i won’t go further on it.

    I’d go for gibbs to stay fresh. btw i love Nacho, and still think he’s underrated, but if you watch a replay of psg early goal, i can’t understant why he didnt attempt to raise a leg to block the cross. I hope that was pointed out to him.

    Alexis will hopefully be rested in the next match, I’d like guys like Giroud and Lucas to play today.

    And T, did you note Contes substitutions yesterday? Imagine if it was Wenger? ? It would be the biggest scandal in football.

  • Not happy with Arsenes line up again. A bit strange the Xhaka thing. And if Santi breaks down, ill be furious.

  • Hi guys…Very good to see the Prince pop round…

    TA, your ideas make perfect sense but AW is sticking with the same group except Theo back in for Ox… Wowsa… What do we know about rotation? Not very much or so it seems… Or maybe AW knows nothing on the topic…

    If folks would appreciate the commentary I could pull myself another espresso. Otherwise, I might remain quieter…

  • Arsenal player are giving it to Alexis, but other sources Iwobi.

    i saw something earlier saying Mustafi was really poor in Paris, I though he was pretty sound? how is he playing 17HT?

  • Good afternoon, when I last heard Iwobi had given us the lead.

    It seems as if we’re well in control

  • Hi retsub… Mustafi missed a bouncing ball leading to Hernandez 1v1 with Kos who forced him wide (and harmless)… Otherwise I think Mustafi is pretty bright–very unafraid to get forward and moving the ball much more quickly than in the earlier matches…

    Oooh… Ozil needs to put the rebound from Iwobi’s shot on target…

    Mustafi down after a clash of heads but getting up…

  • Mustafi did very well to win a tackle after Le Coq gave it away under no pressure. First booking goes to Santi….

  • Hi Ab, long time… How are ya?…

    There didn’t seem to be any argument around who was taking the pen…

  • Halftime… We’re in a very strong position with Hull down to 10 but this one should be already done and dusted…

  • Hi there HT. I’m good. Manic at work, and struggled to do much other than track stuff over the last few months. I found the TW season this year particularly uninspiring – as the sums go up my interest seems to go down. And boos on the first day of the season kind of summed up a gloomy state of football for me. But I’m getting more interested in how the new look squad is brought together and the choices being made in there. I’m pleased to see the investment in Iwobi. But rather less optimistic about Sanchez as our striker. Anyway, early days. How are you faring HT?

  • I’m alright myself but I also seem busier and less inspired by the surroundings on the football. The matches themselves I love but, esp. with the transfer season and our new (and superior) depth it seems there is only more (and more and more…) backseat driving…

    Already this season we seem to be getting results despite not the best play. Today we’re moving the ball better (IMO) but we’re being wasteful near goal and still vulnerable to the break. Alexis as CF is often very far from the CBs but he’s been in there when needed (to deflect in the goal).

    From this position we really have to go on and win in a more convincing fashion…Plus, I could use the fantasy points…

  • That’s what I think, but no action thus far….

    Mustafi with another tight tackle, no foul…

  • I can never understand why we don’t sub a player who is in danger of being sent off. Particularly today when we are winning, have three subs available and the opposition down to 10 men. i find myself worrying overtime the ball goes near Santi, why risk it?

  • I just wonder what Wenger need to proved with same team again and again except Walcott..

    I think He must replace Cazorla ASAP.. before he get another card..

  • Backheels are always cheeky, so pardon the redundancy…

    It was a lovely 1-2 between Theo and Iwobi…

  • Iwobi could play better defense…quite easily…Just thinking about it would help…

    Nacho can’t get to a Xhaka pass and is keen to let him hear about it…

  • Ozil tries one but it’s blocked. Theo even more optimistic from distance and angle but over…

    Agreed that Lucas could use a run out…

  • Iwobi off, Elneny on…

    Norwich guy comes on for Abel Hernandez… and immediately gets a pen and a yellow for Cech.

    Very late call….

  • I do not understand why we did not start Perez or Ollie up front.

    Alexis looked tired and the whole team is playing in a walking pace until the subs came on and everything ended at a lightning pace.

    Good 3 points, but the penalty was something that I do not agree with the linesman. The ref was nearest to the player and he did not give the pen initially.

    Alexis’ brace, one from a shot from Iwobi, and the other from a rebound, is what we needed in attack and it made the game less nervy before Xhaka, Elneny and Perez came on and made the game better.

    Talking about Perez, he showed good touches with the ball and did what most of our players doesn’t.. keep the ball. He should start the next game up front as he looked good playing with the team.

    Now to Elneny and Xhaka. Elneny played in the hole as a rampaging midfielder, and That made the midfield tighter as we were overrun by the Hull midfield before that.

    Now to Xhaka. What. A. Goal. That was.

    He made the defense better and more solid with Elneny and Le Coq, which wasn’t at peak form currently.

    Kudos to the whole team on a fighting win.


  • In the end it was a satisfying victory, although at 2-1 all the missed chances made you think ‘here we go again’…

    Great finishes by Sanchez and Xhaka, 3 more points in the bag and now the real test vs Chelsea where we’ll see if we’ve finally got that Liverpool result out of our system and where we stand in the food chain…

    Great work 17tino.

  • First I must say I was disappointed the way arsenal played today, they played like they were not serious, no energy, no direction, a lot was desired. But hey, all that matters is the win, and am glad we came home with the 3points in the bag.
    I am really really concerned about our central defence right now, with the partnership of Kos and Mustafi. Every through ball, long ball or diagonal ball goes through our defence with ease and they don’t react to it on time till it becomes a serious danger. Am afraid we will be punished a lot when we meet a good team. There is a serious lack of understanding between Kos and Mustafi, my heart is a lot more at peace when Kos and Rob Holding are playing together, Gabriel and Kos partnership also looks a lot better than what we have now. I know they can get better with games, but I don’t see this partnership getting better than kos and Gabriel or kos and holding when they are given opportunities to play together.

    Please someone should tell wenger to stop playing Alexis as a striker, we are a much better team when he plays on the left. Whenever he plays up front, the team lacks an outlet, and it makes Özil redundant or play badly. Giroud or Perez should’ve started and finished this game.

    I think it is still too early in the season to start resting players, no serious team rests some of its best players by this time of the season, unless there is a big game coming up next, besides, we are already behind, what’s the deal? Every point is the same, weather you won the points against Burnley or Chelsea.


  • Hi all..
    So.. Sanchez is our CF now.. I must admitted that he did better than the others two games before..
    A funny thing happened.. Even Wenger wondered why Cazorla didn’t take the Penalty.. hehehe..

    Iwobi did a very great job.. He growing stronger and stronger.. No wonder Campbell gone.. And for me the first goal is Iwobi.. with or without Sanchez it still will be a goal.. So we had three winger as our Striker.. hehehe..
    And where is our handsome man.. yes he got a red card in CL, but we can’t do any favour by not playing him in PL.. hehehe.. He didn’t even on our bench list.. any injury problem..??

    But for me, most of my concern is that Walcott is back.. If he can do what he did last night.. then we will win a lot of games with a lot of goals.. hahaha..

  • TA,

    Alexis looked tired the whole match and cannot match the pace of the defenders. He did well, as a fox in the box, but if we play the same against the Chavs we will get slaughtered.

    What I wanted to say in the first para of my last post is the need for a pacier attacker. We played 4-4-2 for most of the game, and it is until the introduction of midfield enforcers Elneny and Xhaka that we really had a grip.

    Perez should be that attacker, and Alexis dropping back to his old position for the Chavs game. Xhaka must start. Look at how he calmed our nerves.


  • For some unexplainable reason, the Arsenal Player is only showing the 1st half, in full game terms, at the time of writing.
    So my first reactions to what I have seen are these:

    Apart from the first few minutes where Hull moved the ball around a bit, we were very much the dominant side. The new kick off rules do allow for any team to take advantage of some easy possession as they only need one player in the centre circle, so when the ball is played back there are options galore to play in their own half with little or no oppostion.

    From then on the most noticeable thing from an Arsenal perspective was the passing accuracy. Unlike previous games, loose passes were a rarity. Mostly achieved by quick passing to a free player who was there by intelligent movement. They should bottle this game for the rest of the season!

    Now let me see if I can clear up this centre-forward stuff.
    TA said ‘Alexis is our CF, but not how we want him’, or something similar?
    Fine, he is a mobile CF?
    But when is a CF not a CF? Serious question. Because what saw in this first half, it goes something like this: When in transition from defence in our half, Alexis is indeed our most forward player, and pretty much in a central area; When we get a turnover in the attacking half, Alexis is more or less left of centre, deep, or wide. On these occasions, the central position was filled by Ozil or Walcott for the most part.
    Is this your broad interpretation of what a CF is TA? I’m happy with that.
    I just caught the bottom of JK’s comment above, saying we were playing a 4-4-2. Which is partly true. We do not leave two up top. We did get one or two up in support very quickly though.

    I think Alexis wants to be a striker. He has all the right skills to be one … except, in the middle he can neither hold up the ball, or regularly muscle his way past tough tackling CB’s. Hence, with the options from left of centre, with support, he can be deadly. Mobility is part of it, but the key thing is having a big enough threat to occupy the CB’s and give him space.

    As for our defence? There was a screen shot on the BBC live comment page after 20 minutes which I think was interesting, as it showed our deployment in attack. It showed the following:
    Just inside our half were our CB’s around the centre circle. On the left was Monreal, on the WIDE left that is. Not attacking, but ready to defend the Snodgrass/Elmohamady counter.
    The nearest player to our CB’s in the Hull half was Coquelin, everybody else was involved in the attack.
    Now I think that is not an unreasonable defensive position to be in, if there was a quick turnover?
    Hull tried the ball over the top a few times, but between Cech coming out and sweeping, and Kos and Mustafi being pretty nifty, and Bells was well supported by Theo, they were not threatened that often. I await to see how it held up in the second half …

  • I’m agree with Gerry.. something is happening with Sanchez contract.. I think is just the same as Walcott two years ago.. Wenger buying time untill he sign his contract to get him back to winger position.. hehehe.. I hope so.. hahaha..

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